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While checking for a flight at Matrix, I got the following price,

http://matrix.itasoftware.com/#view-details:research=LHELON-LONLHE;solution=03gZAa16LIJDMteAykMJSHV/fMeQKy66yx6TmRFQ9x40TT001

For the same flight on Google and the airline website itself, the reported price is about $300 higher.

https://www.google.com/flights/?f=0#search;f=LHE;t=LHR,LGW,STN,LTN,LCY,SEN,QQS;d=2017-07-23;r=2017-08-15;sel=LHEJED0SV735-JEDLHR1SV113,LHRRUH0SV122-RUHLHE1SV732

Why is such a difference present and if I am to believe Google Flights' prices since it matches the airline itself, then what's the use of MATRIX at all?

  • 2
    Could it be that ITA knows the prices of fares in various "buckets", but doesn't have up-to-date information about which buckets are still available and which have sold out? – Nate Eldredge May 22 '17 at 17:04
  • Google Flights are better but it happens all the time that by the time you get to the actual booking screen the price went up. – chx May 23 '17 at 3:36
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is completely dependent on two links, which are both search results for current prices. In even a week's time, the links will point to something completely different from what they point to now and nobody will know what the question is about. – David Richerby May 23 '17 at 10:13
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby I think the reason you cite might qualify the question as "too broad" or "unclear" (as in, the information in the question isn't sufficient to answer it) rather than off topic. However, the question does note that one site gives a price around $300 higher than the other, which is really all the information we need to answer the question. – phoog May 23 '17 at 15:33
  • @phoog Yeah, I should probably have edited the custom off-topic reason to be more appropriate. Or just voted as unclear and not tried to use an auto-comment. Thanks for pointing it out. – David Richerby May 23 '17 at 16:44
16

ITA Matrix uses cached results, which often are slightly more out-of-date, while Google Flights actually checks with the airlines and online travel agencies (OTAs) once you get to the final page with the full itinerary and the links to book.

When I try to search the same itinerary using ITA Matrix now, it only gives me a $826 price.

Screenshot of ITA Matrix itinerary

Similarly, BookWithMatrix for this ITA Matrix itinerary only shows $826 with Priceline/Flight Network.

Why is such a difference present and if I am to believe Google Flights' prices since it matches the airline itself, then what's the use of MATRIX at all?

In my opinion, ITA Matrix isn't really the best choice for simple round-trips. Where it really shines is when you're trying to craft more complex itineraries, and want to:

  • Filter for specific fare classes (e.g., premium economy, business, refundable economy, etc.)
  • Do multi-city trips where you want to have long stopovers (e.g., for the above itinerary, if you wanted to stop in Jeddah for a few days)

P.S.: linking to ITA Matrix itineraries doesn't work with links like http://matrix.itasoftware.com/#view-details:research=LHELON-LONLHE;solution=0BiiKNqOaL7LTIIKwydj0W1/BdTnlvKKfdNNSxqccWhPQG00A. Those are links local to your computer, so I recommend either copying/pasting the whole page as text or in an image for questions on Stack Exchange or elsewhere.

  • 1
    Also ITA/Matrix uses fares which are published through GDS. However, not all fares are published there (especially not from Low Cost Carriers). Google Flight on the other hand seems sometimes to access directly the websites of carriers, e.g. by screenscaping etc., and so also has cheaper fares available than ITA (not in this case though, just a general comment) – dunni May 22 '17 at 18:54

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